Massachusetts: October 16, 1778 - Codfish
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October 16, 1778 - Codfish
An emission of £8,000 in legal tender bills of credit payable in lawful money from the state treasury by October 18, 1784. Issued to replace lower denomination notes emitted before October 18, 1776 (i.e. emissions of August 18th and December 7, 1775 and several small denominations of June 18th and October 18, 1776 and earlier), which according to the act passed on October 13, 1778, "suffers much from great numbers of them being much torn and otherwise defaced." Paul Revere's copper plates for the front side of the bills in the October 18, 1776 emission were redated and used for this issue. Apparently he printed the face of these notes. Also, Nathaniel Hurd's cast cuts of a pine tree made for the back side of the October 1776 issue were reused. However since the back of this issue was printed by Thomas Fleet (the earlier issue had been printed by John Gill) different type and border designs were used. The Massachusetts Historical Society has a restrike of the reverse plate that is autographed, "Presented by Mr. Thomas Fleet the printer 14 Septem 1799." The October 1778 act originally provided for the printing of £28,000 of notes. However in an act passed on January 13, 1779 it was stated, "the copper plates are found insufficient for stamping the number of bills required." Clearly the used plates were worn out. Thus £20,000 was to be forwarded to the next emission. This would be Revere's final currency project, the 1779 "Rising Sun" emission. Denominations issued in this October 16th emission were: 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 8d, 9d, 12d (1s), 1s6d, 2s, 3s, 4s and 4s6d.
4s Serial Number: 2076 MA 10/16/78
Signer: George Patridge.
Size: 73 x 65mm (front border design: 71 x 64mm; back border design: 62 x 54mm).
Comments: The codfish is depicted at the top of the bill facing right (on some denominations it faces left) . Also at the top is the date 1778, reworked on the plate which originally had 1776. Also above the right column is the date October 16, reworked from the original October 18. The scroll on the left column reads downward while that on the right colum reads upward. The imposition of Thomas Fleet's pine tree cut on the back is slightly off center with respect to the front; in our example it slightly crooked and is shifted approximately 8mm up and 10mm to the right.
Provenance: EANA mail bid auction 04/20/96 lot 470. Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment.